I think the time is ripe for a revival of the 1960’s in German foreign policy. Willy Brandt was Chancellor of Germany from 1969 to 1974, and implemented a new policy toward Eastern Europe, which was dubbed Ostpolitik. This was simply a rapprochement, or reestablishment of cordial relations, with the Warsaw Pact.
In 1970 Brandt signed the Treaty of Moscow, which renounced the use of force, and recognized as permanent the current European borders. In doing so Brandt gave up any German claim to the vast swathes of land in formerly eastern Germany that were now Polish.
It would certainly seem to me that the time is ripe for a reestablishment of cordial relations between Russia and Germany. This was Bismarck’s great achievement, which was squandered by the fools who followed him in power.
Bismarck was as smart as statesmen get, and he knew that if Russia and Germany had cordial relations, there would be no major war in Europe. But, in my understanding of history, the German Army felt threatened by Russia’s growing power, and wanted a war to stop it. Thus, World War One.
The Stalin-Hitler pact of 1940 would have kept the “peace” in Europe if Hitler had abided by it. But he, too, was afraid of the Russians, and made the exact same mistake the Germans made in 1914. Let’s fight the Russians now, before they become too strong for us.
I don’t think the Germans would make the same bone headed decision three times in a row. So, do the Russians want war with the Germans, or do they want their help in developing their ramshackle economy?
It is in Russia’s and Germany’s interest to get along with each other. Together, Putin and Merkel could come to an understanding about the future of eastern Europe. Then there would be another era of peace in Europe.
Whatever were Trump’s precise words, Merkel got the message. Don’t count on the Americans much longer. We now have an America First foreign policy, and the Germans’ problems are not ours. This, perhaps, will convince Frau Merkel to adopt a more conciliatory tone with her Russian counterpart.
Writing in the Washington Times, Robert W. Merry has pretty much the same read on foreign policy as I put out on this blog. I don’t think it’s that complicated. All this heavy breathing and pearl clutching won’t change the facts.
The main fact is that America First is not Trump’s foreign policy, but America’s foreign policy. It’s what the American people want, and the politicians have to listen. Trump did, and it got him elected.